Tales From The Shelter – 50
I’m lucky. I have family in Vancouver and area. Some of the gals here have no one. They’ve been writing Christmas cards and slipping them under our doors. I don’t do xmas cards and feel a wee tinge of guilt because of these women’s situation. But I refuse to go against my grain and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. Life can be confusing in communal living. Standards, ethics, values all get tested immeasurably and what once may have bothered you you have to learn to drop or you’ll go crazy.
One of my sisters gave me a bag full of organic walnuts. I didn’t share them with the women of the ward as will use them as a gift to bring to Christmas dinner at my soon to be in-laws. Again, I feel a twinge of guilt. Why? I’m not sure I’ll ever sort that one out save to guess I have a soft part of my heart that produces a feeling of wanting to give and share with as many as possible. At the same time, that softness can turn to iron ore and the rust colour it leeches paints a hard picture.
There’s battered wives here, refugees, recently released prisoners, recovering addicts, and most, like me, all suffer from some sort of mood disorder or outright , certified nuttiness (no pun intended). Many were also sex trade workers while in their addictions.
These women all have their own unique gifts and talents, despite whether they can drive me up the wall or not. I’m sure I can drive them up the wall , by the same token. But here we are, living on welfare or disability and waiting, waiting, waiting for housing to come through. In the meantime we’re in each other’s faces day after day after week after month. I’ve been here since last March and only one of us has obtained housing. Some go to transitional places , like an affiliate building where you have your own bachelor suite but are closely watched by the front desk and on video. Random urine tests are done – you use, your out. Sign in for this, sign out for that. It’s more like a half way house and the extra space above the 11 x 15 cubby holes we have here doesn’t make me feel like I’d be moving forward. I will not apply.
8 am and it’s still dark out. It was such a relief to reach Solstice knowing the days will be getting longer. I dream of the time again when I’ll be able to ride my bike through town at night , cutting through warm thermals that leave me feeling like I’m a raven who’s completed a mission. Gliding. I like to glide.
No matter what I can’t escape thinking how fortuanate I am compared to so many places in the world. This doesn’t mean I would give up my work to help improve democracy, rights, and entitlements. I grew tired of ‘fighting’ a while ago, realizing working has less drain on one emotionally and mentally. It’s new paradigm b.s. and it works….I don’t have much tolerance for those who are self proclaimed fighters.
What is fighting for a cause anyways, I’m confused? Seems the fighters are more about themselves. One I barely know just placed me in a Facebook Group…how he did this I don’t know, he’s an administrator and either FB has changed and given the Admins the power to do this or he’s a hacker. I think the latter. So, to further his own cause he compromised me. Very unethical and as far as I’m concerned no worse then the authorities/system he proclaims to fight. A bit sick, huh?
Anyways, It’s Christmas, ‘and what have you done?”…no matter the commercialization and a hideous holiday, it’s what I grew up with so my roots are there. I don’t like the stress of it, but I do like the gatherings, being with family (although that has it’s downs as well as ups), exchanging gifts, and most of all being the official ‘stocking stuffer’ of my own immediate family, despite a
I’m tired of the same faces and personalities day after day and grateful I can take off for three days during christmas. There’s an irony to it though, for while I will love being away I will miss my cubby hole.